Match Report

Match Report by Jonathan Campion, more of his work can be found here. 

Metronomes CC vs. Graces CC 7 May 2023

After a glorious inaugural game at Spen Victoria CC in Yorkshire last August, The Metronomes began their 2023 season with a second charity cricket day in support of the National Autistic Society, this time at the lovely ground at Broxbourne CC in Hertfordshire. Our opponents for two T20 matches on a sun-filled Sunday were London's LGBTQ+ team, Graces CC.

The Gnomes' 15-player squad for the Graces games featured eight of those who had played in the first match at Spen: the team's founders Bex and Michael Coleman, captain Simon Ashmore, Matthew Parker, Matt Tuffs, Mark Puttick, Ben Bonney, Tom Cerson, Charlie Wright and WG RumblePants. They were joined by seven players who were putting on a Metronomes shirt (courtesy of Matt's Ambition Sport) for the first time: Ali Zafar, Lucy Rees, Scarlett Neill, Gareth Amer, Andy Jack, Jonathan Campion and Robert Martin.

It was Matthew Parker and Michael Coleman, our two veteran left-armers, who opened the bowling in the first game, after we were asked to field first. Michael took his first Metronomes wicket in his spell, which was soon followed by a wicket for Mark Puttick's well-flighted spin.

When Graces reached the ten-over drinks break at 69-2, both teams felt like they were in a great position. But The Metronomes slowed down the tempo in the second half of the innings: Simon Ashmore took a wicket with his medium-pace, and Gareth Amer span two Graces batters out in the same over, to make sure that they could only score 135.

The Gnomes' wicket-takers were superbly backed up by Ali Zafar, playing his first game in several years, who bowled three classy overs of off-spin for only 15. Lucy Rees bowled an over at the death that kept Graces to a chaseable total.

Graces' captain Stuart Anthony anchored the home side's innings with a confident knock of 37 not out. He was supported in the middle overs by Jesant Halai with 24 off 18 balls. Our catches were taken by Simon Ashmore, Matt Tuffs and Gareth Amer, while Ben Bonney made a sharp stumping.

Our chase of 135 got off to a confident start, as openers Robert Martin and Matt Tuffs put on 53. But when Matt was bowled by Jesant for a run-a-ball 34 – including two huge sixes, one going over the sightscreen – our innings began to lose momentum.

Robert soon departed for 26, and after him only 'keeper Ben Bonney (10), Gareth Amer (13) and Simon Ashmore (12) reached double figures. The Metronomes finished our

innings on 104-7, an agonising 31 runs short, undone by a brilliant spell of 5-10 by Graces seamer James Merrick.

The cake-and-beer break between matches allowed us to talk with our supporters, some of whom had travelled from as far as Brighton and Norfolk for the day. It also gave our umpire Jack Rule a rest during the 80 overs that he would spend with us on the field.

What the second match lacked in individual brilliance, it made up for in team spirit, as a new-look Gnomes XI padded up. This time we batted first, and set Graces a chase of 104. Ali hit three fours opening the batting on his way to a 17-ball 18, and Simon played a captain's knock from number 9, bruising 36 from 24 balls. Our next top scorer was WG RumblePants with a brisk 6 from 22 balls, while Scarlett Neill, Andy Jack and Bex Coleman all scored their first runs for The Metronomes.

Graces very generously allowed us to have a twenty-first over, to allow Bex to get to the crease at number 10 – through a guard of honour – to boost our score to 104.

For Graces, opening bowler Matt Earl took three wickets for 14, and Sam Farnham took 2-7 from his four overs. But we emphatically won the battle of the captains, Simon taking Stuart Anthony for 26 from his only over.

As the sun set on a gorgeous spring afternoon, Graces went past our score in their 18th over, with only three wickets down. Noddy Shafiq played the biggest innings of the day with 46. The Metronomes' wickets went to Tom Cerson (a superb opening spell of 1-10 from three overs), Matthew Parker (1-17), and a run-out by Michael Coleman. Simon Ashmore took his second catch of the day, as did Matt Tuffs, while Charlie Wright and Michael bowled well to make Graces work hard for their runs.

Graces may have beaten us handsomely in both games, but all of the players and supporters would agree that #InclusiveCricket was the real winner.

The Metronomes now have a couple of nets before our next matches, at Chirk CC in North Wales on 25 June, where we will be supporting not only the National Autistic Society, but also the local autism charity Your Space.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheMetronomesCC for updates, and take a look at the rest of our website to see how you can be involved with The Metronomes this summer.